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Straddling a portion of the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Lake Kariba is the world's largest man-made lake. Its creation provided perfect conditions for wildlife in Matusadona National Park, located on a section of its shore on the Zimbabwean side, to thrive. Game viewing along Lake Kariba's shoreline can be done by houseboat, canoe or boat, and from inside Matusadona on foot; preferably with an expert guide. The roads are rough and gruelling and 4x4 vehicles are required.
The spectacular alkaline Lake Manyara forms the centre point of this small and very beautiful park with surprisingly diverse fauna and flora. A circuit drive through the park passes through forest, wetlands, grassy plains and acacia forests, offering views of different animals and multitudes of birds. Elephant, hippo, giraffe, tree-climbing lion and baboon are just a few of the game that call Manyara home.
Two of the better-known lakes in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha are within easy reach of the capital, Nairobi. Each offers a distinctive safari experience and are often included in a Kenyan safari.
Lower Zambezi National Park is found in a vast valley created by a huge rift in the Earth's crust through which the mighty Zambezi River flows. The mineral-rich deposits from ancient volcanoes deposited here over millennia have created a lush, tropical paradise for a large assortment of vegetation and wildlife, mirrored on its opposite banks by Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe.
The Maasai Mara, Kenya. Also sometimes written as the Masai Mara. It's said that you won't find a greater abundance of game anywhere in Africa, as you will in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Park. Apart from the Big Five, the reserve is home to an incredible variety of wildlife in large numbers like the annual wildebeest migration involving over 1.5 million animals.
Madikwe is one of South Africa's popular Big 5 safari destinations for those looking for a malaria-free safari. It's especially family friendly as there's no need for malarial prophylactics. Most lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve welcome children and offer specially designed child-friendly programmes to keep the little ones busy and to help them really enjoy their safari experience, too.
The Mahale Mountains National Park is situated on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in remote western Tanzania. It's spectacularly beautiful, with the backdrop of the Mahale Mountains and lush, tropical flora. The main attraction is walking safaris to observe the chimpanzees who live here. They share their forest paradise with a range of other primates, mammals and beautiful birds.
Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe is one of the few wilderness areas where it's possible to explore on foot (either guided or on your own) or by canoe. Roads are few and far between so game driving is by 4x4. It's a pristine, unspoilt paradise, with abundant game, spectacular scenery and an incredible variety of birds.
The Manyeleti Game Reserve is one of the hidden gems in the Greater Kruger conservation area. Situated adjacent to the Kruger National Park, between the famous Sabi Sand and Timbavati game reserves, this 24,000-hectare reserve is home to the Big Five and offers excellent game viewing opportunities. Manyeleti is not as busy as the Kruger Park or the Sabi Sand and offers an excellent safari experience.
Matusadona National Park, located in the heart of Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley on the shores of Lake Kariba, offers some of the country's most rewarding game viewing opportunities and is often best explored on foot. Walking safaris are the perfect way to investigate the ruggedness of Matusadona's wilderness which ranges from shoreline grassland and mopane woodland to mountain acacia woodland on the escarpment.
Although Meru National Park was made famous by Joy Adamson's "Born Free" books, it remains largely undiscovered and untamed. With its rugged jungle, rivers, swamps and grasslands, game viewing opportunities are excellent. Neglected on safari bucket lists for years, it has been restored to its former glory while evading the hordes of safari visitors.
Moremi Game Reserve is one of Botswana's best Big Five wildlife destinations. The lodges in the Moremi Game Reserve typically offer a combination of 4x4 game drives and boat trips on the waterways of the Okavango Delta. Excellent land- and water-based game viewing and its close proximity to Maun make Moremi Game Reserve a wonderful Southern African safari destination.